Tag Archive: cross-border

E-Commerce is on Fire

June 4th, 2018

At the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit, there was much discussion on e-commerce.  No matter whether you are in a consumer products company (which is typically more geared to e-commerce) or if you are in aerospace, e-commerce principles and implications will affect you.  The bottom line is that we are in the era of the customer:


  1. E-commerce is over 10% of all retail sales currently and projected to climb over 15% by 2023 – Customer responsiveness, rapid deliveries and last mile considerations will become commonplace.
  2.  China and the U.S. account for over 80% of the e-commerce growth –  In thinking of customer geography and delivery, it becomes apparent where to focus attention.
  3.  U.S. cross border is expected to grow at 7 times GDP (export) – Correlating with several statistics related to export, there is VAST opportunity to better leverage export since it pales in comparison to import.
  4.  Technology has disrupted retail and transferred power to the consumer  All we need to do is think about our last car purchase.  You can find out exactly what we should pay for a car before ever arriving on the car lot.  Just think mobile technology and the on-line marketplace to start.
  5. Supply chains have been transformed from hub and spoke to localized fulfillment  – These are vastly different models, requiring different levels of infrastructure.  How can we change from one to the other without losing our shirt?
  6.  The customer experience rules! – Similar to what we hear from our clients, very few talk about inventory levels as the #1 priority; instead, it is all about enhancing the customer experience .  Are you geared to achieving this new #1 priority or the old?

Whether you have e-commerce potential in your business, export potential in your business or whether you just want to provide a superior customer experience, pay attention to these e-commerce trends.  

E-commerce is impacting every manufacturer and distributor in terms of service expectations, lead time requirements and growth – do you have a competitive advantage over your competition? What is it? And how will you provide it at a reasonable cost?  

Reason enough to stay tuned and get ahead of the curve…..


Success with Cross-Functional Integration

October 3rd, 2013
Leadership is at the center of an business success.

Excellent leadership is required for successful supply-chain management and integration.

In the last few years, every supply chain consulting project has included an aspect of cross-functional, cross-company, or cross-border integration. Thus, what could be more important than figuring out how to integrate (businesses, projects, etc.) successfully?

It is an opportunity to leave your competition in the dust, as there are no easy solutions, and it’s not a problem that money alone can solve.

So, what are the keys to success? I’ve found these to be the top three: 1) Leadership. 2) Clarity of goals. 3) People, cultures, processes, systems.

1. Leadership. As my HR mentor says, “It begins and ends with leadership.” It is undoubtedly true; thus, you must start with leadership. Who will lead the integration?

Are they the best choice for bringing people together? Forget about technical requirements to start. It is essential to have a leader!

What is a leader? Consider these words or phrases: Respected. Trustworthy. A positive role model. Makes ethics and values a top priority. Willing to take prudent risks. Has strong communication abilities. Sees people as assets; not expenses. Always remembers the customer. Strives for the next level of performance and innovation. And my personal favorite – accepts accountability for issues but shares credit for wins!

Of course, there are no “perfect” leaders. Find the best qualified person, provide them support and tools, and “go.”

2. Clarity of goals. It is amazing how this one simple step consistently achieves results. Don’t think you’ve communicated goals, especially when it comes to logistics. Make sure they are clear, understood and supported. Typically, in cross-functional initiatives, unclear goals are the culprit of less-than-desirable results. It is not as easy as it sounds. You must get into enough detail cross-functionally, cross-culturally, cross-company to get to a goal that makes sense to everyone. Everyone must understand WHY they are working towards the goal. How do they provide value to the end result? Why does it matter? One way to make sure you have clarity of goals is to figure out your pay and rewards systems. Can one function succeed while another fails while achieving the objective? Sounds ludicrous but occurs frequently. Make sure everyone is on the same page to the degree of detail required to align rewards and recognition systems – even pay. For example, is the goal part of the pay performance criteria for each person? If not, why would everyone be on the same page?

3. People, cultures, processes and systems. Now the hard work. How can we integrate the people, cultures, processes and systems for the initiative in a win-win-win sort of way? This is why leadership and clarity of goals are critical, predecessor requirements.

In my experience, there are countless (and seemingly endless) issues that arise. These can range from how to free up enough resources to focus on the integration effort (as the same people are required for special initiatives and to run the daily business) to disagreement over which processes and systems will provide the best result. Addressing each of these issues, continually communicating and requesting feedback is vital. Again, remaining relentless on the goal is essential, as it helps to address many of these issues. There is no substitute for solid leadership and unrelenting focus. Value and utilize each person’s strengths. Find overlapping areas of cultures, processes and systems. Look for opportunities for each person, culture, or company to benefit from the other. Ask for feedback and ideas. Don’t give up. The path will emerge.

Achieving a win-win in integrating cultures, people, processes and systems will not only yield a huge financial return (and likely put you far ahead of your competition), but, more importantly, it will also result in happier and more productive and dedicated employees – what could be more important?